Environment ‘Identifly’ app highlights dragonfly diversity

‘Identifly’ app highlights dragonfly diversity

A new app to help identify some of the Northern Territory’s most spectacular flying insects has gone live based on research by a Charles Darwin University dragonfly expert.

Aquatic ecologist and head of the School of Environment Professor Jenny Davis has been compiling information for a guide to the NT’s dragonfly and damselflies.

Her original field guide has been converted into the ‘Identifly’ app by Professor Davis’s son, James Friend, who always enjoyed dragonfly hunting as a child with his mum in Kakadu .

Professor Davis said Australia was home to more than 300 species of dragonflies, with the tropics providing the ideal conditions for many. She said that nearly one-third of all species recorded in Australia were found in Kakadu National Park, so it was an important area for dragonfly conservation.

Many dragonfly species can be identified by their size and colour, but there is considerable variation within a species, both between males and females, and with age.

“Often the males are more spectacular than the females in order to attract a mate,” Professor Davis said.

“This technology means that people can now capture an image with their smart device and then zoom in to look more closely at colour and wing markings. They can then compare these with the images and descriptions provided on Identifly.”

She said that although the app started with research on the dragonfly fauna of Kakadu National Park, it would be useful throughout the Top End, Northern and Central Australia, and the tropical regions of near Asian and Pacific countries.

The app will also help to fill knowledge gaps regarding the natural history of the insects.

Read more about the new ‘Identifly’ app here. Story credit: Charles Darwin University newsroom.

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